Sunday, June 8, 2014

HOW SWEET IT IS! Sweet Potato-Quinoa-Red Lentil Cakes/Burgers

Sweet Potato, Quinoa & Red Lentil Burgers
(or cakes)

I have a guilty pleasure... Full disclosure, I have many guilty pleasures, but this is an internet guilty pleasure.  OK, stop what you're thinking, it's Pinterest.  I love to take a daily scroll thru the Pinterest park of home design, fashion and, of course, food.  Y'all know how I love to write about food.  Well, I love to find recipes that look and "read" good enough to make.  Don't be silly... not for me to make, but for Richard to make.  He is the one who likes to cook, after all.

Always trying to find healthful food that will taste good, I came upon this vegetarian recipe for a sweet potato, quinoa and red lentil burger.  I'm not all that crazy about quinoa, but it's full of good things and lots of protein, and mixed in with yummy sweet potatoes and lentils, how bad could it be?  Not bad at all, as it turns out. 

Did I mention it also has spinach?  Like Popeye, I love spinach. So I immediately C&P the link and sent it off to Richard, post haste.

A few days later, these delectable morsels were on my dinner table.  Richard decided to make them into smaller crab cake size instead of a burger size so my brain would not think bun (I'm again cutting down on white carbs ie: bread!)  What a thoughtful guy!

Whatever size you make them, you have to have them... they're truly delicious.

Sweet Potato/Quinoa/Red Lentil Burger
Courtesy of Martha Rose Shulman


1/3 cup quinoa (blond or black), rinsed
1/3 cup red lentils, rinsed (note: Richard had a hard time finding red lentils - if you can't find them,
              regular lentils will be just fine)
1 2/3 cups water
Salt to taste
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, baked!
3 cups, tightly packed, chopped fresh spinach
3 ounces feta, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup minced chives
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup panko or chickpea flour (you will not use all of it)
1/4 cup grape seed oil

1. Combine quinoa, red lentils, water and salt to taste (about a rounded 1/2 teaspoon) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until quinoa is tender and blond quinoa displays a thread, and lentils are just tender. 

Drain off any water remaining in the pot through a strainer, tapping strainer against the sink to remove excess water, then return quinoa and lentils to the pot. Cover pot with a towel, then return the lid and let sit undisturbed for 15 minutes.

2. Skin the cooked sweet potatoes and place in a large bowl. Mash with a fork.

Add spinach and mash together (use your hands for this). Add quinoa and lentils, feta, mint, chives, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together well. Mixture will be moist.

3. Take up about 1/3 cup of the mixture and form into a ball (you can wet your hands to reduce sticking). Roll the ball in the panko...

... or chickpea flour, then gently flatten into a patty. Set on a plate and continue with the rest of the mixture. Refrigerate uncovered for 1 hour or longer (the longer the better).

4. When you’re ready to cook, place a rack over a sheet pan. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch, heavy nonstick frying pan over high heat.  Swirl the pan to coat with the hot oil.  Lower heat to medium. Place 4 to 5 patties in the pan (do not crowd), and cook until well browned on one side, about 4 minutes.  Turn and brown for about 4 more minutes.  

Remove to rack.  Heat remaining oil in the pan and cook remaining patties. Keep patties warm in a low oven until ready to serve. 

Serve with a salad and your choice of toppings, such as the usual (ketchup, mustard, relish), or yogurt raita, garlic yogurt, or chutney.  Richard steamed asparagus.

Bon appetit!!!

Advance preparation: You can form the patties and keep them refrigerated for up to 2 days, or cook them all the way through and keep them refrigerated for 2 or 3 days. Reheat on a baking sheet in a low oven for 10 to 15 minutes. The patties freeze well. Thaw completely before reheating.

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health.”